AZ BIO: New Study on Various Drug Pricing Proposals Shows Unintended Consequences

The Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA) recently released data analyzing the potential impact of various drug pricing proposals on patient access to lifesaving medicines, future biomedical innovation, and the economic health of the life sciences industry.

The study, which was conducted by Vital Transformation, an international health economics firm, examines the negative effects of bills like “Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019” and other foreign reference pricing models had they been enacted.

“Out-of-pocket healthcare costs place a heavy burden on patients and their families.  At the same time, new medicines and treatments are needed to address unmet medical needs. It is vital that holistic solutions to the cost of healthcare are developed.  Holistic solutions balance the significant cost of research, development, and life science infrastructure that is needed to deliver medical innovations with the affordability of the treatments patients need,” said Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc. (AZBio).  “Too often, policy is developed or proposed that addresses one component of our healthcare system and shifts the impact to another.  The Vital Transformation study highlights the unintended consequences of policy solutions that are not holistic by design.”

The research finds that, had a bill like the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019” been in place from 2009-2019:

  • A basket of 68 innovative therapies that had been developed by small and emerging biotechs and approved during that timeframe would have been reduced to only 7, leaving critical health care gaps for millions of Americans.
  • New medicines for some of the most difficult conditions to treat, including in rarediseases, oncology, and neurology, would be disproportionately impacted.
  • Biopharmaceutical industry job losses alone would total nearly 191,000, with total joblosses across the economy of more than 950,000 when indirect effects are included.
  • Triggering these losses would be the sharp drop in U.S. biopharmaceutical industryearnings (a 62% reduction, or $125 billion in 2024 alone) caused by the bill, leading tolarge reductions in established companies’ ability to invest in small and emergingbiotechs, chilling drug development.

After the data was released, Michele Oshman, Executive Director of Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA) and Vice President of External Affairs at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) remarked:

“We are deeply concerned about efforts to enact price controls on America’s vibrant bioscience industry, which leads the world in developing the cutting-edge treatments on which many Americans rely to live healthy lives. If enacted, price setting policies would significantly impede researchers’ ability to bring lifesaving treatments to patients and respond to future health crises — including pandemics. As the last year has made abundantly clear, we cannot afford to short-circuit an industry which offers hope to millions of Americans living with debilitating diseases — some of which currently have no cures — and directly employs nearly 1.9 million workers across the nation. CSBA supports patient-oriented solutions that lower out-of-pocket costs for Americans, maintain access to the latest therapies, and fuel the cures of tomorrow. We will continue to engage lawmakers to find policies that achieve these important goals.” 

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